In order to ensure an enjoyable and safe summer, protect yourself and your children by taking these simple precautions when engaging in recreational activities involving water:
— The most important safety measure is to watch your children constantly when they are at the beach, near the pool or any containers of water. Many kids will not or may not be able to call out or splash when they are in danger.
• Drain containers or kiddie pools as soon as you are finished using them.
• Always enter the water feet first.
• Never swim alone, and don’t let other adults, teens or children swim alone.
• Make sure the water is deep enough (at least 9 feet deep, according to the American Red Cross) before jumping or diving. If you cannot verify the depth, it is best to gradually enter and not jump in.
• If you can’t swim or don’t know CPR, enroll yourself in classes. A significant number of downings have been prevented because parents had these skills.
• Do not enter the water if you have consumed alcohol or medication: each year, up to half of all adult drowning cases is linked to alcohol use.
• Do not chew gum or eat food while in the water — you could choke.
• Introduce your kids to the water early in age. Use bath time to familiarize them with floating and going underwater. Enroll them in swimming and CPR classes as soon as possible.
• Use only certified life preservers and floatation devices. Don’t rely on water wings or air floats for safety.
If you witness someone drowning:
1. Alert another person in the area and Call 911 immediately. Make sure someone keeps visual contact with the person experiencing difficulty at all times so that a proper location can be given to emergency crews when they arrive.
2. ONLY if the person is close enough, throw a floatable object to them, or extend a rope or a pole to them and pull them to safety.
3. ONLY if you are an experienced swimmer AND the above option did not work, should you enter the water.
• Bring a floatation device with a rope attached that is strong enough to support both you and the person experiencing trouble.
• PUSH the floatation device to the person once you are close enough to them
• DO NOT get so close to the person that they can grab you. People experiencing emergencies in the water often panic and grab on to the first thing they come in contact with. If it happens to be you, they may push you under the water in order to keep themselves afloat.
• If this happens to you, DO NOT PANIC, simply swim deeper out of the person’s grasp and away from them.
• Once the person has hold of the floatation device, swim them to safety.
This information is provided by the Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District. For more information, contact FFFPD at 303-833-2742 or visit them online at www.fffd.us.